Questions From Readers
● Revelation 19:7 mentions rejoicing “because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself.” What is this marriage and when does it take place?—T. H., U.S.A.
The Lamb is Jesus Christ and “his wife” is made up of the 144,000 anointed followers of Christ who become his Bride. (John 1:36; 3:28, 29; Rev. 14:1-5; 21:2, 9-14) These, who include Jesus’ faithful apostles, share in his sufferings, submit to a death like his and have a similar resurrection, one to spirit life in heaven.—Phil. 3:8-11; Rom. 6:5; Eph. 5:25-27.
The faithful apostles and other early Christians were the first members of the Bride to be selected. Only a remnant, the final number of this class, remain on earth today. For centuries members of Christ’s Bride class have been traveling to meet their heavenly Bridegroom, just as Rebekah journeyed a great distance to become Isaac’s wife. (Gen. 24:59-67) Happily, though, for the vast majority of the Bride class that journey has ended. But when?
The marriage of the Lamb began to be consummated in 1918 C.E. At that time Jesus Christ accompanied Jehovah God to His spiritual temple. (Mal. 3:1) Anointed followers of Christ who had been sleeping in death were then resurrected to heavenly life. (1 Thess. 4:15, 16) However, the Lamb’s marriage is still in progress, inasmuch as there are still prospective members of the Bride of Christ on earth. They must yet prove faithful until death in order to receive the crown of life and become united with Jesus Christ in heaven. When these die in faithfulness, they are immediately resurrected as spirit creatures.—Rev. 2:10; 14:13; 1 Cor. 15:51-53.
The order of events foretold in the book of Revelation, chapters 18 and 19, indicates that Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, must suffer destruction before the Lamb’s marriage in heaven is fully consummated. At Revelation 19:1-5 Jehovah is praised for executing judgment on this “great harlot.” Then the apostle John was inspired to write: “And I heard what was as a voice of a great crowd and as a sound of many waters and as a sound of heavy thunders. They said: ‘Praise Jah, you people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king. Let us rejoice and be overjoyed, and let us give him the glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself. Yes, it has been granted to her to be arrayed in bright, clean, fine linen, for the fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the holy ones.’ And he tells me: ‘Write: Happy are those invited to the evening meal of the Lamb’s marriage.’”—Rev. 19:6-9.
Though Jehovah certainly took power and began to rule when the Messianic kingdom was established in heaven in 1914 C.E., the destruction of Babylon the Great marks a new epoch in God’s rule. Revelation 19:6, regarding Jehovah’s beginning to rule as king, appears to be associated with the destruction of the world empire of false religion, which will occur in this very generation. Only after this notable event will the marriage of the Lamb come to completion. (See “Babylon the Great Has Fallen!” God’s Kingdom Rules!, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, pages 616-622.) Yet, not immediately thereafter will the Lamb’s marriage be completed. The war of Armageddon, wherein Christ serves as God’s Chief Executioner of the wicked, follows Greater Babylon’s destruction. (Rev. 16:14, 16; 19:11-21) After Armageddon Satan and his wicked angels will be abyssed. (Rev. 20:1-3) Some time after that the marriage feast with the complete Bride will take place.
The Scriptures tend to show that a remnant of the Bride class will live for a time here on earth after the end of this system of things and the abyssing of Satan and the other demons. For example, Noah’s wife, who pictured the anointed remnant, survived the Flood. Also, as Elisha lived through the destructive work of Jehu of old, so too some of the anointed Elisha class of today will evidently survive the destructive activity of the Greater Jehu, Jesus Christ. These Biblical pictures indicate that some members of the Bride of Christ will live for a time here on earth during the early part of Christ’s thousand-year reign.
Consequently, the feast or evening meal of the Lamb’s marriage will remain in progress until the very last member of the Bride class dies in faithfulness and is united with Jesus Christ in heaven. How long the marriage feast will continue in heaven after the binding and abyssing of Satan and his wicked angels is unknown to the Bridal remnant today.